Google is apparently working on an IM service to rival Blackberry’s wildly-popular-wiv-da-kids Messenger and Apple’s recently announced iMessage – which is sure to tear strips off iPhone SMS revenues once the UK’s iPhone users figure out that all their friends have iPhones as well.

Google, of course, already has its Google Talk IM service but rumours suggest this may be an Android-specific messaging offer that will attempt to wrest some of the IM ground from RIM’s Blackberry in the OS-specific IM race.Network operators will doubtless be less impressed, given that SMS revenues are not showing the growth they once were.

But since applications like iMessage and BBM are platform-specific, there’s still a huge number of users for whom SMS is still their primary method of comminication, although cross-platform messaging apps like LiveProfile and Whatsapp are threatening to erode that user-base still further.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Dutch network KPN saw a massive surge in use of the free WhatsApp messaging app, from 0% in August 2010 to 85% in April 2011. Where that to be repeated in the UK, then we’d likely the networks starting to charge more for data to counteract the loss in SMS revenue.

We’ll keep an eye on Google’s IM news and keep you updated as we find out more.

Via Wall Street Journal



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